It's chic to be as cool as ice on the catwalk

BRITISH fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has Arctic exploration to thank for inspiring her latest menswear collection.

For her 2013 menswear winter collection, models walked the Milan runway as if they had just returned from a harrowing trip to one of the Earth's poles.

They were covered in icicles, shaggy beards and moustaches (some obviously faux), and overgrown hair.

Westwood said that she took inspiration from Arctic explorers in a bid to raise awareness about global warming.

''What I am trying to do is help promote the fact that only public opinion can change policy,'' she said.

She urged leaders to ''admit the fact of climate change'' and make policies to stop it.

The clothes conjure adventure - as one would expect from Westwood, well known for her eclectic looks - even if few would stand the test of Arctic temperatures.

Westwood managed to make her style points as well. She dressed her hardy men in sherling coats over thick knit high-neck sweaters with comfortable trousers. Scarves were not necessarily for the neck, but tied around the waist provided an extra layer against the cold.

Once safe in civilisation, the returning explorers could change into something more indoorsy, say a tartan plaid suit paired with identical shirt and tie. Westwood generously mixed patterns, marrying a plaid brown jacket with an orange plaid shirt topping striped pants.

And there were tailored jackets in contrasting panels, and even pants with each leg a different plaid.

Westwood favoured double-breasted jackets, but she stuck with the classic bow tie for tuxedos where others went with the more casual turtleneck.

And all of it would fit nicely in her duffle bags - easy to pack for the next adventure.